(2019) | Useful to Parent Center staff, families, and others exploring the importance of self-care.

This brief article in the New Social Worker Magazine takes a wry and unflinching look at self-care. While it readily acknowledges the importance of taking care of yourself physically, spiritually, and emotionally, the article actually focuses on another aspect that’s often not mentioned: that self-care can be painful, difficult, uncomfortable, and boring.

We tend to think of self-care are “feel good.” The author, Erlene Grise-Owens, points out that there’s a danger in viewing self-care as only “feel good” because doing so (unintentionally) equates self-care with a special treat, extra luxury, or rare indulgence. This framing is extremely limiting and, thus, quite detrimental to effective self-care. Actually, the Grise-Ownens says, self-care is a lifestyle that may require courage and involve conflict.

“As such, self-care is sometimes uncomfortable and often difficult. Self-care is setting necessary boundaries, professionally and personally. These boundaries can be quite uncomfortable, because we won’t be “liked,” which certainly does not feel good. Self-care is having hard conversations and navigating conflict—rather than sweeping things under the rug, which “feels good” in the short-term. It’s being willing to engage in processes that challenge structural oppression and address personal trauma.”

The author gives multiple examples of the way in which self-care–good self-care–is much more involved than we think. It’s a point well worth considering.

Find the article online at: